If you’re looking for a side hustle with a serious capacity for income production, furniture flipping could be “it”. Now, I’ll be honest: furniture flipping takes some work and some patience.
You have to find the pieces, restore them in a way that attracts buyers and then sell them. But if you like doing that kind of stuff, you’ve got the makings for a real income-bearing side hustle.
How Can Furniture Flipping Be So Profitable?
The reason furniture flipping can be so lucrative is because rotten-looking furniture usually sells for cheap. Sellers have trouble seeing beyond out-of-date pulls and worn stain.
A successful furniture flipper gains the ability to see the “after” picture in their head, even before they buy. They get a vision of what the transformed piece will look like.
Customized furniture sells for a pretty penny in most markets. And if you’ve got a willingness to learn how to customize attractively, you’ve got a shot at a nice income.
Interested? Here are 9 steps you can follow to learn to flip furniture for a profit.
1. Learn to Identify Quality Pieces of Furniture
Just because you find a cheap piece of furniture doesn’t mean it’s right for flipping. The best furniture flipping pieces are:
- Made with real wood
- In solid shape
In other words, the piece needs to have a good foundation to work with. You’ll need real wood because you can’t sand and re-stain the fake stuff. You’ll want something that’s in solid shape so you don’t have to spend time repairing it.
If you can get this step down, you’re well on your way to a successful furniture flipping career.
2. Learn How to Refinish Furniture Attractively
In order to maximize your chance of a sale, you must know how to refinish a piece attractively. You can check flipping or furniture sales sites to get an idea of the latest trends.
Do your research on popular colors, techniques and so on. Learn how to re-upholster furniture too, or simply avoid pieces that have upholstery on them.
Understand the steps needed to give your pieces a lasting quality look and finish them appropriately. For instance, sealing distressed pieces is vitally important. You can learn all of this information simply by searching on line.
3. Know Where to Find Flippable Pieces
Knowing where to look to find the furniture you’ll restore and flip is important. There are several places you can look to find cheap, solid furniture.
Summer is your bounty time, future furniture flipper. Hit all of the sales and look for those pieces that look like nobody wants them.
Don’t be afraid to haggle on prices or try to get a discount for taking more than one piece. Hit the sales on the first day, and as early as possible, for the best selection.
Estate sales are especially popular for furniture flippers because they usually sell a LOT of furniture. People often hold estate sales with the goal of “everything goes” so prices are reasonable. Check Craigslist and your local paper for estate sale ads, which reminds me…….
Craigslist, Letgo and other similar sites can be a great place for finding flip-worthy furniture. Many Craigslist ads feature old, worn-down furniture that is offered for cheap.
In fact, when I checked my local Craigslist site to verify this fact, you won’t believe what I found. Within five minutes I found over 10 pieces that were selling for cheap that could easily be restored. And I know they’d sell for at least two to three times what I’d put into them.
Flea markets can be another great place to find quality furniture for cheap. My dad used to sell at flea markets all the time. The goal of most sellers is to sell a LOT of stuff at reasonable prices. Check online and on Facebook and Craigslist for local flea market sales.
The Side of the Road
Curbside finds can also be great places to get worn down wood furniture. Here in the country where I live, not a day goes by that there’s not some type of freebie sitting on a curb. Start keeping an eye out for them, buy them and refinish them.
Finding the good, cheap furniture pieces is key to a furniture flipper’s success.
4. Get a Vision of the Finished Product Before You Buy
You know where to find great pieces – that’s awesome! However, I’m a firm believer in not buying those pieces until you’ve got some sort of vision in your head of the finished product.
Think about what paint colors you’ll use and what types of pulls would work well. Have a plan in your head before you buy the piece. This will help you get an idea about how restorable the piece is.
5. Use Quality Refinishing Products
Using quality paints and sealers is wise as well. Buy on sale, but don’t necessarily go for the cheap stuff. Produce quality products and use quality supplies.
The same goes for drawer pulls and knobs. They don’t have to be super expensive but stay away from the cheap stuff. Clients will recognize it and doubt the quality of the piece as a whole.
6. Set Up a Facebook Business Page
I recently went to visit a friend who had just purchased an old 1800’s farmhouse. The farmhouse had been completely restored, but she needed furniture and accessories to fit its style.
I noticed that she’d already gotten three or four cool-looking pieces that fit the house perfectly. Every time I asked her where she’d gotten them, her answer was the same: Facebook.
Facebook is still super popular for businesses. Once you’ve made up your mind to start flipping furniture I’d start a business page on Facebook.
Be prepared to have pictures of pieces you’ve refinished, even if it’s only a couple of pieces at first. Advertise all of your finished work and advertise your sales too. Invite your personal Facebook page followers to like your business page and ask them to help spread the word about your new venture.
7. Provide Great Customer Service
Great customer service will still bring a sparkle to just about anyone’s eye, even in this hustle and bustle world. Commit to treating your customers super well.
Under-promise and over-deliver. Set your timelines and keep them. Here’s a perfect example of great customer service at work:
So, that friend I mentioned earlier, the one that bought the farmhouse? Well, she found a college gal online that makes blanket ladders. You know; those cute wooden ladders that hold folded-up blankets.
She told the gal what she wanted and asked if she’d make it. The gal agreed, and within a week she had her blanket ladder. My friend loved it so much she went back and asked for a second one.
The business owner, who loved my friend’s idea, had already made a second one. “I’ve already got a second one” she said. “It’s all yours”.
This business owner had the foresight to know that my friend’s idea would be a popular one. So she made two ladders instead of one, knowing that if my friend didn’t buy the second one, someone else would.
That’s great business sense and great customer service rolled into one. Practice that great business sense and service and the customers will keep on coming. Quality, attractive pieces and great service makes for business success.
8. Be Willing to Take Custom Orders
You may get a call from a potential client about doing a custom order. I’d recommend being willing to take them if it’s doable and profitable. My friend’s blanket ladder is the perfect example. The style my friend wanted wasn’t something the gal normally made but she was willing to try it.
Some custom orders will be profitable, some won’t. For instance, if you have to search and shop for the piece on your own, you’ll use up a lot of your time. That might not be worth the profit you’d make.
However, some custom orders will be easy to fill – like my friend’s blanket ladder. Your goal should be to be willing to be open to custom orders. Assess each one and take the ones that will help your business grow profitably.
9. Decide Whether You’ll Offer Delivery Options
Some furniture flippers will deliver their pieces, others prefer to work locally and do pick-up only. The choice is yours; just understand that without delivery options you’re narrowing your client base.
Not everyone wants to – or can – come and pick up your furniture pieces. That being said, delivery can be expensive and cumbersome.
If you decide to deliver, be sure to do so in a way that ensures the piece will safely arrive at its destination. And remember to charge enough money to cover your time and shipping costs.
Furniture flipping can be quite profitable if done right. If you have a passion for giving worn down wood pieces a makeover, this could be a great side hustle for you. Although restoring furniture does take time and effort, the profits can be quite lucrative.
Have you ever considered flipping furniture for a profit? Have you ever bought a piece of furniture that’s been flipped or restored? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.